How to Prevent Your Dog From Getting Lost

Most pet owners consider their pets a part of their family, and losing a pet can be heartbreaking.

Unfortunately, pets are lost on a regular basis, and they’re often not found. They may be taken in by a stranger or picked up off the street and taken to a shelter by animal control officers. Pets can often wander many miles from home, which means they could end up in another town or city where concerned citizens won’t see your locally posted missing pet signs.

To prevent the devastating loss of a beloved household pet, follow these 5 quick tips.

1. Fences and Leashes

One rule for preventing a pet from becoming lost is to fence in your yard. There are many different types of fencing available, and choosing one that is appropriate for your pet’s size and strength can prevent it from becoming lost. Electric fences are another good option for keeping your pet confined to your yard.

When you take your dog out of the yard for a walk or a run in the park, for example, be sure to keep him on a leash at all times. It only takes a second for your dog to see something that catches his eye and he could be off and running.


Be sure that his collar fits well also, as dogs often become lost from slipping off their collars and escaping their leashes. As your pet grows, adjust the collar or buy a new one as needed.

2. Tags

Make sure that your pet is always wearing tags that identify him or her by name and include, at minimum, a phone number where you can be reached in the event that he becomes lost.

Tags are cheap, and you can buy them in many places, making this one of the easiest rules to help your lost pet get home. Be sure to keep the information current and to replace missing tags as soon as you discover that they are gone.

A dog’s rabies tag should also be worn at all times. If your dog goes missing and is found, he will be traceable to the vet that gave him the shot. The vet can then look up the dog’s records to find and contact you so that you and your beloved pet can be quickly reunited.

Causes of missing pets can include:

  • Stolen pet
  • Lost or misplaced pet
  • Good citizen taking pet in
  • Pets getting lost in strange surroundings

Because of the above it’s always a good idea to put extra effort into contacting all neighbors, humane societies and vet clinics because you never know where your pet will turn up or who has been helping them out.

3. Recent Photos

If your pet is lost, you will need recent photos to put on posters and to post online so that people will be able to identify your pet more readily.

Animals, like humans, change in appearance as they age, and grooming can change their look as well. Because many cats and dogs appear quite similar to others, you will increase the odds of getting your pet back if you can provide recent, up close photos.

Your posting should also include other information that might help someone distinguish your pet from another, including the pet’s name, any tricks it can do or distinguish habits it has, and any obedience training signs that a stranger might be able to observe.

4. Microchips

Microchips contain an identification number unique to your pet. If your pet is lost and someone finds him, many vets and shelters have the necessary equipment to check the animal for a microchip. When scanned, the microchip will identify your pet by its number, and then your identifying information can be found in a database.

While tags and collars can fall off, microchips are imbedded into your pet’s skin, where they remain for life. You will need to keep your phone number and address current so that you can be promptly notified once your pet is found. Microchipping is not an expensive procedure, and it is a great way to get a lost pet home.

5. Tattoos

Tattooing an identification number on your pet’s inner thigh is also an option for getting a lost pet home quickly. The number is unique to your pet so that you can quickly be found. The tattoo process is both painless for your pet and permanent.

This method does not work on all pets, as a pet that is lost may be too upset to allow a stranger to get close enough to check for a tattoo, and your pet’s hair may grow over the tattoo, reducing its visibility.